Mar 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

James Clyburn wants Joe Biden to pick an African American woman for vice president

Harris: Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images. Clyburn: Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images. Abrams: Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter.

Rep. James Clyburn has a list of African American women who are qualified to be vice president, and he told "Axios on HBO" in an interview that there's a "much deeper bench than people realize."

The big picture: Clyburn is widely credited with saving Biden's campaign following his endorsement in the South Carolina Democratic primaries.

"I'll never tell you who I'm going to advise him," Clyburn said in the interview, "but I would advise him that we need to have a woman on the ticket, and I prefer an African American woman."

His list of qualified African American women includes:

  • Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Rep. Marcia Fudge
  • Rep. Val Demings
  • Former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
  • Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice
  • Also on his list: Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren

Between the lines: Harris, Fudge, Demings, Bottoms and Rice have all endorsed Biden. Abrams in 2019 warded off reports of the Biden campaign weighing her as an early VP pledge, but she didn't eliminate the idea of joining Biden at a later date.

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Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).